Last week, the Internal Revenue Service informed the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means that they had “lost” nearly three years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the disgraced IRS official at the center of the scandal involving the IRS targeting of conservative and tea party groups, because her computer crashed. Naturally, many were skeptical of the claim given its questionable convenience.
Many also arrived at the logical conclusion that if the IRS had actually “lost” Lerner’s emails, then surely they would be able to recover them from the emails of other officials at the IRS that she was communicating with. Yet, today the IRS announced that it has also “lost” the emails of six other high-level officials at the center of the investigation into the suppression of conservative groups by the agency.
The Obama administration promised to be the most transparent administration in history, little did we know this would mean they could make things disappear entirely. Given the convenient details of the misplaced emails this is clearly not a computer problem, as the IRS claims. This is a fundamental failure of leadership at the highest levels and a betrayal of the nation’s trust. ‘It’s a glitch’ may as well be the 21st Century version of ‘I am not a crook.’
As Charles Krauthammer said, “Nixon was a piker to the Obama Administration when it comes to concealment, hiding, or pretending that they can’t find stuff.”
Think about it. Why didn’t Nixon use the excuse that the recording system crashed? Maybe he wasn’t as corrupt as our current administration.
The overly convenient and lousy excuses coming from the Obama administration are generally reserved for guilty adolescents and banana republics. It’s clear that the administration has moved from obstructing the activity of conservative and tea party groups to stonewalling Congress by whatever means necessary.
The rampant cover-up by the IRS of its targeting of conservatives is beyond outrage. If this were a Republican administration, Democrats would have already drawn up articles of impeachment. You doubt that? Democrats introduced six different impeachment resolutions during President George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. Republicans have introduced exactly zero impeachment resolutions against Obama.
I think it is past time for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the IRS from top to bottom. It’s clear that a deceitful administration will not police itself.
The kidnapping of more than 200 young girls by the terrorist group Boko Harem in Nigeria is horrific.
We can debate how we got to the point that this terrorist group was able to pull this off. We can, in part, blame Hillary Clinton, who, while she was Secretary of State, worked against listing Boko Harem as a terrorist group, despite strong evidence of their close ties to Al Qaeda.
We can also blame this administration’s general position on terrorism – or probably better said, lack of strong position against terrorism.
Case in point:
Seriously? The reaction by the greatest nation on earth to the horrific kidnapping of more than 200 young girls is a twitter hashtag? What, exactly did they expect to accomplish with a Twitter hashtag and a profile picture?
Even what the President said about it is incredibly disappointing:
“I have this remarkable title right now, the president of the United States,” Obama said, “And yet every day when I wake up, and I think about young girls in Nigeria or children caught up in the conflict in Syria — when there are times in which I want to reach out and save those kids.”
What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that he has more than a “remarkable title” – he has remarkable responsibility that he is supposed to employ.
But, when you think about it, the vast majority of President Obama’s tenure has been more style than substance. It isn’t about doing something, it’s about projecting – expressing opinion rather than doing the hard work of affecting actual change.
In a word, our president is a slacktivist. Like so many other high-minded liberals, he thinks that tweeting something out, or creating a hashtag about an issue is actual activism. Well, it’s not.
It’s past time for this administration to understand that we can’t conduct foreign policy with a hashtag. #Seriously
Remember these words from President Obama? “Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
The foreign policy of the 1980’s brought down the Soviet Union, it would appear that Obama’s foreign policy is bringing it back.
We are fewer than two years past that debate and Russia has invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation. The Ukrainian people took to the street to demand freedom and democracy and to protest a government that allowed neither. When the government attempted to violently crush the demonstrations the people overthrew the government. As we know, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin however, contends: the government in Ukraine, the people’s government, is illegitimate because the leader, Yanukovych, was illegally overthrown; that Yanokuvych remains Ukraine’s legitimate leader; that Russia has a right to use military force in Ukraine because the ousted Yanukovych (the legitimate leader according to Russia) formally asked for Russian for assistance in quelling the revolt.
To which the President of the United States responded, “President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations but I don’t think that’s fooling anybody.” Well, there’s a strong statement from a powerful man.
In 1982, the USSR-controlled Polish government declared Solidarity, the first non-communist union in the Soviet Bloc, to be illegal. Ronald Reagan let the world know where America stood:
“I know Poland is a faraway country in Eastern Europe. Still, this action is a matter of profound concern to all the American people and to the free world… The Polish military leaders and their Soviet backers have shown that they will continue to trample upon the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the Polish people. America cannot stand idly by in the face of these latest threats of repression and acts of repression by the Polish Government…The Polish regime should understand that we’re prepared to take further steps as a result of this further repression in Poland. We are also consulting urgently with our allies on steps we might take jointly in response to this latest outrage… when anyone is denied freedom, then freedom for everyone is threatened. The struggle in the world today for the hearts and minds of mankind is based on one simple question: Is man born to be free, or slave? In country after country, people have long known the answer to that question. We are free by divine right. We are the masters of our fate, and we create governments for our convenience. Those who would have it otherwise commit a crime and a sin against God and man.”
Strangely, in his February 28 statement about events in Ukraine, Obama never uttered the word “freedom.” Instead, he said,
“Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future… we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe. It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people… the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The nation that once said big things, did big things, and led the world, now confronts Russian aggression with talk of “lawyers” and “people deserving the opportunity to determine own future.” The world perceives America as weak and perception is reality.
What happens when America is weak? The world is less safe. Syria crosses “red lines” with impunity, Iran and North Korea flex their muscles, Russia invades neighboring states, and al Qaeda does not—contrary to Obama’s 2012 campaign spin—run.
America has suffered terrorist attacks at home, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and abroad, Benghazi—for which no one has been brought to justice. Are we safer today than when Obama took office?
No, we are not. Since our nation’s birth, the fundamental purpose of our government is to defend its people, to ensure our liberty. If Obama fails to perform this most basic purpose he should not pursue vast domestic undertakings like Obamacare. Because, if Obama cannot keep our nation free and safe, health care will be the least of our concerns.
The State of the Union has evolved into a national conversation on social media. Twitter and Facebook light up for a couple hours in ways rarely seen in politics. I did my duty by tweeting out snarky comments and posting on Facebook.
The best post-speech commentary came from National Review’s Jim Geraghty:
My Fellow Americans, the State of Our Union Is . . . Interminable
Okay, let’s get this out of the way. The only part of the president’s State of the Union address that you need to read:
“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program — a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.
For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again — and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.
“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”
Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.”
Cory Remsburg is a Dagwood sandwich of courage, determination, inspiration, and all-around bad-assery.
The rest of the speech was interminable, meandering, shifting in tone, unfocused, and at least twice as long as it needed to be. In a development that surprises no one, his fans liked it, his critics largely hated it, and millions upon millions of Americans wondered what happened to their favorite shows that usually air at 9 p.m. Eastern.
The only thing worse than a boring State of the Union? Having three GOP responses. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers did a fine job, but I don’t understand why Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul gave responses other than feeding their own egos.
The thing that mystifies me is why the response is not done with a live audience. One of the best GOP responses in recent years was Gov. Bob McDonnell when he delivered his response from the state capital of Virginia with a live audience. It made a world of difference on how the response played to viewers across the country. But no one has replicated that model since, and the responses have been mostly yawns.
I’m just glad it’s over.
When Donald Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time,” he was roundly criticized. But it was true.
In war, life, and good governance, you must recognize reality and act within those conditions. You can’t sit around, twiddling your thumbs and wishing it were different.
An even larger mistake is the current liberal method of governance: reject reality and take action with the assumption that conditions will change because you reeeeaaally want them to and think they should.
Like, for example, launching a massive new entitlement that restructures almost 20% of the US economy based entirely on the premise that young, healthy, “invincibles” who chose not to buy health insurance in the past will buy it now…because you’ve launched a massive new program that depends on them to buy health insurance.
In the wisdom of Maya Angelou, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” These young invincibles showed us they wouldn’t buy insurance before and they’re not buying it now (though the White House assures us, the young are just procrastinating—they do that you know, silly young people).
The White House seems surprised by this fact. Are they, really?? If so, Barack Obama’s Administration is even more incompetent than we thought, actually believing Obama’s alternate reality on healthcare. Good grief, didn’t think that was possible!
A story in the New York Times last week about President Obama’s TV watching habits set off a buzz among conservative commentators about whether it was appropriate for the White House to release the President’s “must see TV” shows.
Peter Roff, at U.S. News and World Report, wrote a response that should be required reading for any conservative politician, commentator, operative, and activist.
To summarize, the complaints about the piece boiled down to the idea that such revelations – if you can call them that – are unpresidential. That somehow the president’s television preferences are not the business of the American people.
It’s one thing for Obama to appear in a commercial hawking a late-night television show. It’s another thing entirely for the White House to take steps to make it known to the American people what the nation’s chief executive likes to watch in his downtime. In fact, it’s a stroke of brilliance.
What the liberals understand and conservative fail to grasp is that in the age of information everything is media. By disclosing what the president’s favorite television shows are or what his picks for the NCAA brackets may be or what music he likes to listen to, his political team is giving him the opportunity to meet the people where they are, not where they might want them to be.
This is a critically important concept that many Republicans fail to grasp. The country is turned off to politics. Americans think Washington is dysfunctional, that both parties are seeking political advantage, that neither are wedded to principle, and that they are ignoring what is in the country’s best interests in order to position themselves for the next election.
Obama was sold to the American people like new and improved laundry soap, the latest model sports car coming out of Detroit or Hollywood’s newest teen idol. The American people met him in places that were essentially on the fringes of the political arena rather than in the middle of it. By talking about what he likes to watch on television, his political team is keeping that conversation going, even stepping it up because – as his approval numbers continue to drop – the ancillary conversations about seemingly extraneous subjects become all the more important. Rather than attack the communications strategy it represents, Republicans would do well to analyze it, understand it and adopt it.
Roff nails it on the head when he discusses the need for conservatives to “meet the people where they are” the way liberals have been doing for generations. It is why, as I pointed out in my last post, we have to embrace popular culture that makes our arguments for us like Hunger Games, Divergent, and to rip one off from Obama, Downton Abbey (see my previous thoughts on that show here and here).
We have to stop viewing this as a culture war, in which we must vanquish the enemy (liberal Hollywood), and start to treat this as a competition. Let’s embrace and make huge successes of the books, movies and TV shows that carry conservative messages. At the end of the day, while Hollywood may think they are engaged in a “higher cause” with some of the liberal tripe they serve up, it’s really all about the money.
“What was that?” My car had just made a very loud thump and I looked in the rearview mirror to see what it was. “It” was 2013 and it was lying motionless in the road behind me, the life drained out forever.
Ok, that was a little graphic, but what’s behind us, is behind us. And we move on.
However, we know that we are supposed to learn from the past so that we don’t repeat our mistakes, so it’s probably worth thinking about what we can learn from 2013.
So, what’s the big lesson learned from 2013?
It’s time for conservatives to assert ourselves and push back on the complete tripe that the Left sputters on a daily basis.
Yes, we took a beating in 2012 – with Romney losing to Obama and losing seats in the U.S. Senate. We were rocked back on our heels and needed to lick our wounds and regroup.
The conservative movement largely sat out of the biggest race of the year in 2013 – the Virginia Governor’s race – and as a result, the king of cronyism and corrupt business dealings, Terry McAuliffe, is now the Governor of Virginia.
So it’s time that we grab our bootstraps and pull ourselves up and make the arguments – from the head and from the heart – that less government involvement in our lives is a good thing.
And I know that we can win the argument. We just need to help people see what is right in front of them.
Think about it. The “Hunger Games” trilogy has been wildly successful and created two blockbuster films. The story is a manifesto against bigger government.
Same goes for “Divergent” which will be released as a major motion picture this year. We (conservatives) lament how the popular culture is working against us, but when something in popular culture makes our point, we need to celebrate it, promote it, expand on it.
The lesson of 2013? Two young girls, each in their own way, asserted themselves to shine the light of truth in a dark world. We need to follow their example.
Here’s to Katniss and Tris – true freedom fighters.
Smugness is obnoxious. Since the failed ObamaCare rollout, there have been a lot of smug Republicans.
They gleefully recount healthcare.gov horror stories—hours spent on the site without being able to sign up—and people who haven’t been able to keep their plans, period. Contrary to the pervasive joy in Conservative circles, these aren’t good things.
The average American may not have been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act when it passed, but now that it’s law, they’d like it to work properly, make their lives easier. They’re worried. It seems like their government can’t do anything right. Their country appears to be faltering.
They look around for an alternative, someone to rescue them from this leaderless chaos, and what do they see? Republicans with sh**-eating grins on their faces taking triumphant turns on talking head shows. We don’t look like the better option.
If Republicans don’t change our behavior and attitude, we will squander the opportunity to right the terrible wrongs of Obama’s presidency. We can’t dance in the end zone.
We need to let people know that we don’t want to win for the sake of winning. We want to provide constructive solutions to improve their lives. Sometimes, those solutions are just to get government out of the way, a point Obamacare is effectively illustrating for us.
We have to say, “I know you’re frustrated and disappointed the health care law is not working, we are too and here’s what we’d like to do to make it better.” Or, “I recognize that aspects of Obamacare—letting young adults stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 or enabling people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage—really help your family, but we think there’s an even better way to help you and others, and here it is.”
As Republicans, we have the better ideas. If we truly want the American people to give us the chance to prove it, we’d better shape up.
From her blog posted at 4:31pm yesterday, it would appear Peggy Noonan is psychic.
In her advice to Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Noonan instructs, “Do not be defeated by Sebelius’s media coaches. Do not let the secretary’s slightly dazed unflappability get under your skin. All representatives of government are surrounded by communications advisers. Sebelius’s are no doubt advising her right now to do what they always tell officials in trouble to do: Come forth with long, meaningless yet on some level data-filled sentences that will steer clear of speaking plain truth and yet on some level imply the effort to be candid.”
Noonan then provides a hypothetical transcript that bears a striking resemblance to the actual transcript from today’s hearing:
Q: Madame Secretary, did you know or have reason to know the ObamaCare website would crash on opening day? If you did, did you tell the White House? Who in the White House? If you did not know, how did it happen that you, the person in charge of the program, did not understand the depth of its problems?
A: So, we know through historical experience that a vast, multitiered, horizontally integrated program will always yield or produce certain unanticipated challenges of a technological or other nature, which is inevitably and also predictably the pattern, and it’s increased by the scale and size of the endeavor . . .
Q: Let me ask: Did you know that as soon as the program debuted, millions of Americans would see their own health insurance policies canceled or terminated? And that they would often find that newer policies would be more expensive with less coverage? When did you come to understand this—during the writing of the law, after its passage, in the ensuing years? If you did not know that millions would lose their coverage, how did it happen that you did not know?
A: So, in the intervening days and months following the passage of the ACA, a focused task force composed of peer-reviewed stakeholders throughout the government and the private sector, in addition to appropriate designated agency officials, along with contractors and subcontractors . . .
Of course, initial headlines covering the hearing highlight Sebelius’s apology for the failed rollout. Another delightful tidbit making the rounds online is this exchange between Sebelius and Mississippi representative, Greg Harper, in which Sebelius replies to Harper’s insistence that Obama is ultimately responsible with, “whatever.”
Really however, there was nothing new or earth shattering in the testimony. In fact, for those of us who fought Obamacare since its inception, the failed rollout and millions of Americans losing their current plans is not at all surprising. It’s what we always knew would happen.
As was clear in today’s hearing and this week’s coverage, Democrats have seized on our forewarnings of failure as proof that the failure is our fault.
That’s right. Republicans’ mental power is so strong that we can make things come true simply by stating them out loud. If that were the case, President Romney would currently be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, aided by a Republican controlled House and Senate.
No, responsibility for Obamacare—it’s failures and lies—rests fully with the president and congressional Democrats (reason #123 why it’s best to pass massive legislation with bipartisan support).
The Obamacare debate and debacle highlights big government liberalism’s inherent flaw: Overpromising and under-delivering is the only thing government consistently does well. Conservatives recognize this reality and legislate accordingly. Democrats do not. Thus, we knew Obamacare wouldn’t work, while they’re stunned it’s not going smoothly.
In the end, I guess the problems of Obamacare could be blamed on Republicans—despite our wisdom, we failed to defeat the bill.
When you have someone help set stuff up for you (like a blog page) it’s a good idea to write down passwords. I changed computers a couple weeks ago and haven’t been able to log into NobleThinking – sorry about the silent treatment.
As you likely know, I fly. A lot. So I read this headline with interest:
Friday 13th travellers take chance on flight 666 to HEL
Now, they aren’t actually flying to hell. Every airport in the world has a three letter code, some which are obvious like LAX, PHX or SFO and some which aren’t as obvious like ORD (Chicago) or MCO (Orlando). HEL is the airport code for Helsinki.
Would I take that flight? Sure. I’m not superstitious (expect in baseball) and I’m writing this while on a flight on Friday the 13th already.
Sometimes it’s better to not listen to your kid’s playlist. It makes you realize they are growing up way too fast.
When it comes to Syria, I can’t imagine it makes sense to say, “Hey Russia, great idea!” Russia may not be the menace that it was during the Cold War, but it is not an ally. Still, Putin is way more cool than our President.
I’ve been in politics for more than 20 years and I figure I have pretty much seen it all. But sometimes in politics I see something so beyond the pale that it still shocks me. That is the case with the latest move by Senate President Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Senate Democrats.
They are really unhappy that Sen. David Vitter continues to denounce ObamaCare and is saying that lawmakers shouldn’t be getting subsidized health care coverage. You may remember that Sen. Vitter was accused of having a relationship with a call girl a number of years ago.
With that context, check out this story by Politico:
Senate Democrats have had all they can take from David Vitter and his fixation on Obamacare — and they’re dredging up his past prostitution scandal to hit back.
Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has infuriated Democrats this week by commandeering the Senate floor, demanding a vote on his amendment repealing federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers’ health care coverage.
But Democratic senators are preparing a legislative response targeting a sordid Vitter episode. If Vitter continues to insist on a vote on his proposal, Democrats could counter with one of their own: Lawmakers will be denied those government contributions if there is “probable cause” they solicited prostitutes.
You couldn’t make this stuff up. This is junior high school level bullying. Now, I’ve never been a fan of Harry Reid, but this is so beneath someone who is supposed to represent the people that you have to call him what is: a real a**. He truly demonstrates why the Democratic mascot is a donkey.
I love the Disney movie “Up.” So I read with interest that there was a guy who used hundreds of colored balloons to take off from Maine to cross the Atlantic Ocean. That takes some serious guts.
Alas, about 12 hours into the trip, he landed in Newfoundland and proclaimed, “This doesn’t look like France.” At least he has a sense of humor.